Gallery: Solo Helicopter Emits Nothing But Water Vapor


Developing an idea first sought by the U.S. military — one-man, easy-to-fly helicopters — Avimech has created a 230-pound helicopter that uses hydrogen peroxide for fuel and emits nothing but water vapor. The Dragonfly can reach an impressive 100 knots and can fly for 90 minutes without refueling, drawing on the simple decomposition of commercial-grade hydrogen peroxide.

We love to see green ideas originate within the U.S. military: it proves that moving away from fossil fuels makes sense for more reasons that just the climate. The Dragonfly uses two small 102 horsepower-equivalent rocket motors mounted on the tips of the rotor. (The positioning makes the chopper easier to fly; it can be flown with just one hand — no pedals.)

The helicopter does, however, consume 11 gallons an hour of hydrogen peroxide, with each one costing about $4. And the craft itself goes for a cool $120,000. But at least the aviation industry has got a green starter chopper — and we won’t have to launch more wars for oil to keep it flying.

Via Wired


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  3. Laser-Powered Helicopte... November 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    […] set the world record for the longest-duration laser-powered helicopter flight when it flew a tethered remote-controlled helicopter up to six hours at a time for four days […]

  4. djii August 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Not new tech, this is from 1940’s.
    Again, I’m pretty sure I’d rather breath anything out the exhaust from any type of fossil fuel vs breathing exhaust that will dissolve my lungs. But hey, I bet if you have a Unicorn pilot, it will blow out pretty pretty rainbows. My point is your post is not, at all, new or green, no matter how much you want to believe it is. Green takes conservation, science or engineering or some combination, this tech has been proven to fail on all those aspects.

  5. Dotcom August 18, 2010 at 10:46 am

    “Green” is relative for our purposes. Always. And I didn’t suggest that 50% H2O2 was safe to ingest in its liquid state, as that’s totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    The point is that H2O2 is, in many ways, better than jet fuel or Avgas, and it’s decomposition renders water and oxygen. Also, that attempting something like this with an emphasis on new ideas is a good thing.

    Nobody has created a perfectly “green” helicopter that’s of any use to anyone, to my knowledge. This isn’t either. But it’s interesting tech, and the last thing we need are people like you spouting off about how someones modest attempts at something better somehow don’t meet your standards. Go troll elsewhere, as you are ill-equipped for this conversation anyway.

    He hasn’t solved the worlds fuel problems, but I congratulate this guy on doing something different, and would encourage other people to try their less-than-perfect ideas too.

  6. djii August 18, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Had you read my comment (or had a grasp of basic chemistry or used google), you would have understood that I did read the article. The 2% H202 in your medicine cabinet is only dangerous if ingested in in large quantities. IT will not dissolve your soft tissues, however, anything above 10% is lethal to pretty much anything based on carbon. As for water vapor, there is NOTHING green about water vapor if the carbon footprint to make the water vapor is $4 a gallon. And it not just water vapor, it\’s H202, silver ions (both toxic) AND water vapor. Just because the author is un-informed about what comes out the end, doesn\’t mean we should repeat is ignorance. The only upside is this may kill off a few rich morons who are also to lazy to look up how this thing works.

  7. Dotcom August 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Had you actually read the article…

    “The Dragonfly doesn’t use the same hydrogen peroxide you have in the medicine cabinet. It uses readily available commercial-grade liquid diluted to around 50 to 70 percent. Though there is “rocket grade” hydrogen peroxide that was used for things such as the rocket belt, the stuff fueling the Dragonfly falls somewhere between really volatile and what you dab on cuts and scrapes.”

    And it’s green in that its exhaust is water vapor.

    Downsides are there, but interesting work none-the-less.

  8. JB August 16, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Sorry, why is this green? Did you think the hydrogen peroxide grows on trees?

    Hydrogen peroxide has been used as rocket fuel for donkey’s years and there’s nothing new or green about this.

  9. djii August 16, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Holy-Bat-Shit-Crazy are you kidding? Do you have ANY idea what pure H2O2 does to organic tissue? Even the Nazi\’s who invented this tech couldn\’t force pilots to fly the planes at gun point. One tiny leak and your soft tissues dissolve like wax under a flame thrower. Not to mention it\’s VERY unlikely that the rockets are getting 100% burn, so some fuel will make it out into the air and even if the pilot doesn\’t inhale it, it will land on something. On top of that, GUESS how H2O2 is made? oh yea, with fossil fuels. AND it\’s 11GPH for a one (1) man payload. The only way this thing is green is if you define green as scorched earth.

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